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What should replace Obama and Romney’s sound and fury?

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Campaign 2012, Sound & Fury Edition, has reached DEFCON level 2, with no sign of a letup any time soon.

It’s become vacuous enough to have Americans demanding something better (nominations accepted, see below) but first, for those who were misguided enough to be enjoying your vacation, Politics Now recaps what the politicians have been turning into an endless summer:

First, Mitt Romney declined to release most of his tax returns, which provoked debate over whether Sen. Harry Reid, the “dirty liar,” should release his own taxes. President Obama said “you didn’t build that” and business people made ads to prove they did. Only hitch: some of the self-made folk actually got a bit of help (several reporters showed) from, God forbid, the government.

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Next, a pro-Obama ad asserted that Romney pretty much killed a woman because his creepy private equity firm, Bain Capital, took away her health insurance. That ludicrous claim might have put a nice cap on a ludicrous couple of weeks, except that Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul didn’t know how to properly dispose of the refuse.

Responding to the killer-capitalist canard on Wednesday on Fox News, Saul talked about how the unfortunate decedent (as described in the pro-Obama ad) would have had health insurance, if she only lived in the Massachusetts where Romney once served as governor.

If there is one thing true conservatives can’t do, it’s embrace their candidate’s most singular legislative achievement. “OMG,” Erick Erickson of the Red State website practically wretched on Twitter. “This might just be the moment Mitt Romney lost the election. Wow.”

Which might as well lead us to the moment when we talk about what these candidates haven’t been talking about.

As a pair of moderate men let their campaigns try to caricature the other (Obama shameless, big government liberal; Romney, heartless, out-of-touch conservative) we get little or no discussion of: how to resolve the 11-year-old war in Afghanistan; what the U.S. should be doing to secure records stored online; how to rein in over-extended public pension systems; whether the U.S. military’s use of drone strikes has gone too far, or not far enough; the proper role of testing, and vouchers, in public education; the federal role (if any) in resurrecting blighted urban areas; and what to do, in the midst of a summer of record heat and following a scourge of killer storms, about the changing climate.

Politics Now would like its readers to suggest what you would rather hear the president, and the man who would replace him, talk about. Nominations open now. We will follow up by writing about as many of the nominated topics as we can.

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James.rainey@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesrainey

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